Rodeo Bids Will Rogers Memorial Center Adieu

Will Rogers Stadium

Let's ride, one last time.

One of Fort Worth’s longest-running traditions is moving for the first time in 75 years. Come Jan. 18, the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo will begin its final rodeo season at Will Rogers Coliseum before it moves to Dickies Arena in 2020. (Stock Show events, such as the horse shows and livestock shows, will remain in their current areas and expand into the Will Rogers Coliseum.) Each rodeo will incorporate 29 performances, including bull riding, bronc riding, steer wrestling, wagon races and more.

Fort Worth Stockyards

As for the rest of the Stock Show, “Old School Cool” is this year’s theme. The season will kick off with the All Western Parade on Jan. 19, which will have floats, horse-drawn vehicles, riding clubs and sheriff’s posses, as well as various bands and marching groups. One of the Stock Show’s most popular attractions, Mustang Magic, a competition in which trainers have 100 days to gentle a wild mustang, will return for its three-day event Jan. 24–26.

Will Rogers Stadium Rodeo

The rodeo shouldn’t undergo any drastic changes when it moves to Dickies Arena next year, says FWSSR communications manager Matt Brockman, who fondly recalls watching the rodeo for the first time and meeting a saddle bronc rider at Will Rogers at age 11.

According to Brockman, Dickies Arena chairman Ed Bass and Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show president Brad Barnes are working to keep the same format and feel, “just in a more comfortable seat.” 

“While there may be memories that are generated and memories that are held from decades ago in the Will Rogers Coliseum, those memories can still come alive in Dickies Arena because the look, feel and atmosphere is going to be a lot of the same,” Brockman says.

By Sunday Nester